I recently took my three children on a six day vacation to Universal Studios, Orlando. It was fantastic, action-packed, and I think it's quite possible that I am still recovering.
We did so much during those six days that I'm going to have to break it all down over a few posts, especially about the Family Forward conference which was our main reason for visiting Universal Orlando.
During our vacation we stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, which is one of the three (soon to be four) on-site hotels at Universal Orlando.
Such a beautiful spot to stay.
There are many benefits to staying at the Universal Orlando on-site hotels, so I'm going to break down some of the reasons you should stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
- Universal ExpressSM Unlimited ride access: This is one of the biggest benefits to staying at the resort. Once you have checked into your room, there is a booth by the concierge desk where you can enter your room key, have your photo taken, and an express pass to both theme parks will immediately print for you. It's an $89 value. We didn't wait any longer than 10-15 minutes at the rides that accepted express passes and some we walked straight to the front.
- Universal Orlando Transport: A complimentary water taxi takes you directly from the hotel to Universal CityWalk, dropping you off between the two theme parks. The 10-minute walk to the park is lovely, but after a full day of walking around the parks (or when your kids are too exhausted to go to a restaurant for dinner and send you off to CityWalk in search of food), it is so nice to be able to just sit and relax. The water taxi arrives every 20-minutes, seats 40 people and is covered. There is also a shuttle bus between parks available to guests.
- Early Theme Park Entry: You can enter Universal's Islands of Adventure park including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter each day 1 hour before the park opens to the public.
- Dining: Not only are there several on-site restaurants, but there is also room-service, and the restaurants at CityWalk are a short water taxi ride away. Don't forget to make reservations for the Character Dining and the Saturday night Wantilan Luau. We had breakfast with the characters one morning at Jake's Restaurant and it was so much fun and the food was great.
- Keurig Coffee Maker's: The rooms are equipped with Keurig coffee maker's. We packed our favorite K-Cups from home and picked up flavored coffee creamer at a local grocery store so we could still enjoy our regular cup of coffee every morning while getting ready for our day. meril's K-Cups and half and half provided, but we wanted our regular items.
- Charge It: Use your room key to charge purchases and dining at restaurants around the resort, plus get complimentary delivery of merchandise to your hotel room.
- Stormy Weather: If there is a storm, the rides, water taxi, and hotel swimming pool will shut down temporarily. If you get caught in a storm walking back to the hotel, never fear, staff will be there to greet you with warm towels. Yes, this happened to us and I even joked on our very wet walk back how nice it would be to have a warm towel waiting. There's still plenty to do if it does rain, such as on-site activities and crafts for kids (check with the hotel for times), restaurants, a games room, and a gym which is perfect for teenagers who want to work out (mine certainly took advantage of this). Also, take advantage of the on-site laundry to dry clothes, this helped us incredibly after that one very wet day. We didn't have to return home with wet clothing in our suitcases.
- Rooms: There are fun themed kids suites available at the resort, although we did not stay in one (maybe next time - and please don't tell my kids that these exist or they'll be very cross with me). The kids did love that every afternoon when we returned to the hotel room before dinner that their stuffed animals had all been placed on the beds with pillows and lined up in a neat little row.
- Pet Friendly: The hotel is pet friendly, in fact our room looked out over the dog run area, which was lovely and green and had a few fun dog-friendly activities set up. They even have a pet room service menu.
Other Activities: There is a lagoon-style pool, a small private beach with a beach volleyball net, an activities room that operates during certain hours, walking paths, a torch lighting ceremony, and plenty of poolside activities including dive-in movies, crafts and activities for kids.
Disclosure: We paid for our trip, however it was heavily discounted and we received many additional perks while staying at Universal Orlando, including a private dessert party at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a red-carpet meet 'n greet with the characters, a gift bag and Blue Man Group tickets.